‘American Idol’ Winner Maddie Poppe On Why Passing The Torch To A New Winner Is ‘Scary’

'American Idol is about to crown its 2019 winner and last year's top gal, Maddie Poppe, opened up about how she's dealing with stepping away from the show and moving on to the release of her first studio album on a major record label.

Maddie Poppe
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Image Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

Maddie Poppe, 21, is coming into her own after winning American Idol last year, and she proved it by releasing her debut album, Whirlwind, on Hollywood Records on May 17, but the talented star is still a bit nervous about stepping away from the show’s winner stage and setting off on her own music career. We caught up with Maddie before she gave a special performance celebrating the release of her album at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA, on May 16, and she talked about how she’s feeling about the change she’s about to go through.

“It is very scary, to be honest, but also it’s like, I think it’s time,” Maddie EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife about passing the torch to a new American Idol winner. “It’s like now, it’s like as much as I loved talking about American Idol, it’s like now I’m not going to be interviewed about that. It’s going to be more about my music and what I’m really up to.”

Maddie was also joined by her boyfriend and 2018 American Idol runner-up, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, 20, at the L.A. event, and they both admitted that stepping down from being on television every week and now trying to make their own way with their music, is a challenge, but a welcomed one. “Life has changed. We’re in the industry now,” Maddie explained. “We don’t kind of have the safety net anymore of guaranteed air time every Sunday. But it’s so much fun. I’m having so much fun and the people I’m working with. I always tell everybody I love the people I’m working with because I’m surrounded by them every day. If I didn’t, it’d be really, really tough because it’s tough being away from home, but I feel like I’ve made a new little family out in L.A.”

Although Maddie has clearly been busy with her expanding career, she’s still found time to watch the new season of American Idol, and already has some opinions about which contestants she’d like to see come out on top on the grand finale, which airs May 19. “I love Jeremiah [Lloyd Harmon],” she gushed. “And I think I’m biased because we play the same kind of music, and we love the same kind of stuff, so of course I’m going to lean towards him and think I want him to win. But after meeting them all, and getting to know their personalities, and just watching them week after week, they’re all so talented, and really I can’t decide between these top three. I think they’re all so good. It’s really exciting to just watch and just to know someone else is going to be in my position I am now in in a year.”

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